Leaving the armed forces can be a daunting process to undertake. Understanding what options, you have and what actions you can take will help make your transition from military healthcare to civilian healthcare as smooth as possible.
The Villa Medical Centre is a Veteran Friendly Practice Accreditation Certificate
This means that, as part of the health commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant, we have a dedicated staff member who has specialist knowledge of military related health conditions and veteran specific health services.
If you are a military veteran please let the surgery know by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure you send your service number along with any documentation you have by way of validation.
You are a veteran if you have actively served in the armed forces for at least one day. Reservists who are not currently mobilised are also given the status of veteran until they return to actively serving.
All veterans, family members and carers can access a range of specialist healthcare and support created to provide treatment and care for many different problems.
Support for health problems not caused by service
If you have a new or existing health problem that is not caused by your time in the armed forces, you can use regular NHS services to get treatment. It is important to register with a GP surgery once you have left the armed forces and to tell them you have served. A GP can help refer you to NHS or dedicated veteran specialist services.
Find more information about NHS services and how to access them.
Waiting lists and priority treatment If you have a health problem caused by your time in the armed forces, you will usually go on a waiting list before you receive care. However, you may be able to receive NHS care quicker than normal through priority treatment for veterans.
Priority treatment is not guaranteed. Receiving priority treatment depends on your situation and the nature of the treatment required. This includes:
- if other people have a higher clinical need than you
- the urgency of your treatment
- the type of treatment you need
Find more information on waiting lists and priority treatment.
Help when transitioning from armed forces healthcare
When you leave the armed forces, it is important to complete a number of steps to make sure you can receive healthcare through the NHS and specialist veteran services.
- registering with a GP surgery
- making sure your GP surgery has a copy of your military summary medical records
- telling your GP surgery that you are a veteran so this can be flagged on your NHS medical note
National Organizations who offer help and advice to veterans and their families
- Mental health support for veterans, service leavers and reservists – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Defence and armed forces: Support services for veterans and their families – detailed information – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- The Defence Medical Welfare Service For serving personnel, veterans and armed forces families. Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) provides practical and emotional support to military personnel, veterans, their families and other entitled civilians when they’re in hospital, rehabilitation or recovery centers.
- Help for Heroes For wounded, injured and sick serving personnel and veterans, and their families. The Help for Heroes charity provides physical, psychological, financial and welfare support to wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans, and their families. Contact Help for Heroes through their website to see how they can support you.
- Royal British Legion For serving personnel, veterans and armed forces families. The Royal British Legion gives advice and support on wellbeing on their website and through their community branches. For additional advice and support, the Royal British Legion also have an online chat and helpline that is open 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
Service Families Federations
For serving personnel and their families.
The 3 Service Families Federation offer independent and confidential advice on a range of issues for all service families.
- Website for Army Families
- Website for Naval Families
- Website for Royal Air Force Families
- SSAFA website For serving personnel, veterans and armed forces families. SSAFA provides lifelong emotional and practical support. To get support, call their helpline or use their online chat Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.30pm. Helpline: 0800 260 6767
- The STOLL Website For veterans who struggle to live independently. Provides housing and support services to help veterans live independently.
- Togetherall website For serving personnel, reservists, veterans and armed forces families. Togetherall is a mental health support service that provides anonymous, round-the-clock online support, with trained counsellors available at all times. There’s a supportive community and lots of free resources that all armed forces personnel, reservists, veterans and their families can use at any time.
- The Veterans Gateway For veterans and their families. Veterans Gateway provides wellbeing support and advice on their website and with their 24/7 Live Chat, text messaging and helpline. Helpline: 08088021212 Text chat: 81212
- The Veterans Gateway live chat
- Walking with the Wounded For veterans and their families. Walking with the Wounded offers support services for a range of issues, such as mental health, employment, criminal justice and addiction. Their website offers information on how to be referred to their services
Armed forces charities for people with specific healthcare conditions
- Blesma For veterans who have experienced life-changing limb loss, lost the use of a limb, or lost sight during service, as well as their families. Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, offers advice and support through their local support officers. Blesma also provides financial assistance to help with the additional costs of disability.
- Blesma phone number: 020 8590 1124
- Blind Veterans For veterans who have experienced sight loss and their families. Blind Veterans offers community groups, rehabilitation and support with care as well as advice on their website. Phone number: 0800 389 7979
- Women’s armed forces charities
- Salute Her UK Salute Her UK For women veterans who are survivors of military sexual trauma and their families. Salute Her UK provides a support service which offers mental health therapy and interventions for women survivors of military sexual trauma in a single sex environment.
- SMART Recovery SMART Recovery SMART Recovery runs a network of self-help and mutual aid meetings where participants help themselves and fellow members with recovery from any kind of addictive behavior.
Charities and support groups